Dive Site: Richelieu Rock

Ornate Ghost Pipefish at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

Site Overview

Site Type: Macro (Nudi's); Mega fauna; Wreck; Reef – Drift; Reef – Scenic; Photographic; Other; etc
Depth: Top: 5MMedian: 16MBottom: 26M
Location: Surin Marine National Park is situated north of Similan and only 7 kilometres from the Myanmar border

Description

A horseshoe or crescent of steep sided boulders, with the highest point at the apex, which almost breaks the surface, and then the height diminishing down to the points. It forms an enclosed ‘bay’ teeming with fish. The steep sides of the boulders form vertical walls, and still there are plenty of swim throughs and gaps, within which you can find the small stuff. It’s one of those dive sites that appears to have been specifically ‘designed’ – rather than just a random act of nature. No wonder it is considered Thailand’s number One dive-site. Here’s a short video to wet your appetite.

Swirling in the ‘bay’ are not just one, but two large schools of snapper.

Just a few of the big eye snapper at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

Spot the two different schools: big-eye and two-spot just before they merged into one indeterminate mass.

Two spot and bigeye snapper just before they merge at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

On the sea floor below, this juvenile yellow box fish, has tagged along with a pair of spotted puffers as if they’re on a family outing.

Two spotted pufferfish with a juvenile yellow boxfish at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

As there is plenty of current, there are plenty of Gorgonian seafans.

Orange lined trigger with seafan at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

 

And right down at the bottom, waiting for night are the squirrel and soldierfish.

Looks like a small mouth squirrelfish at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

It’s down at about 18-20m that you need to get into all the nooks and crannies to find the small stuff. And you will be rewarded with an ornate ghost fish,

Ornate Ghost Pipefish at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

A trigger-tail seahorse,

1159-Triggertail-seahorse-at-Richelieu-Rock-diving-Andaman-Sea-DPI-1159

And a pipefish – even if mine was only the common red-banded pipefish.

Red banded pipefish at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

The tube anemones will be out of their tubes feeding in the stream, often with unnoticed visitors.

Hermit crab and anemones feeding at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

There is all sorts of other interesting stuff that you won’t find at home, such as the globe urchin,

Globe urchin at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

The geometric chromodoris, one of the many nudis hiding in plain sight,

Geometric chromodoris at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

And a porcelain crab or two.

Porcelain crab at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

You will find critters that are common to many areas in the Andaman Sea, such as the bearded scorpionfish,

Bearded scorpionfish at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

The very-terry-torial damselfish that rushes his 90g of body weight at a 90 kg diver in the insane belief this will scare it away.

Damsel attacks at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

This Skunk anemonefish has hidden his eggs under the anemone carpet; not so safe methinks.

Skunk anemonefish has hidden his eggs under the anemone carpet at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

One of the less common anemonefish, a Red Saddleback in a regular sea anemone,

Red saddleback anemonefish - quite rare at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

And what looks like a saddleback in bulb-tube anemone (where its more commonly found) – but this one does have white bar.

Looks like a saddleback in bulb-tube anemone but does have white bar at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

These photos were taken over three dives. Don’t attempt to cover this site in one dive – you’ll see nothing. We dived with Sea Bees Diving on the Marco Polo and their excellent dive guide Beam who was able to show us the best of three different areas over three dives.

Just before surfacing on the second dive, we were treated to an encounter with a cuttlefish, who was reasonably tolerant of the attention.

Cuttlefish at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how

On the third and final dive of the day, we were visited by a colony of batfish, who I suspect, just wanted to see us safely to the surface, and out of their world.

Longfin batfish or spadefish at Richelieu Rock diving with Sea Bees. Scuba holiday travel planning for Thailand - where, who and how